This exclusive function gives ordinary Tasmanians the chance to rub shoulders with none other than failed Liberal Premier Robin Gray, mysterious Edmund Rouse confidante David McQuestin, and best of all, your host for the morning, the gregarious and charming John Gay.

As one would expect with a celebration of this calibre, not everyone is welcome, so as in past years, the organisers have come up with an ingenious method of keeping the riff-raff well away from the opulence of the Lindsay Street ballroom.  You will need to bring your personalised invitation to gain entrance.

Gunns have outsourced the screening of applicants to the stockbroking fraternity, who will happily arrange for an invitation to be issued for the token price of $500, plus brokerage.  Not only does that guarantee an invitation to this prestigious event, but you will also be able to share in the profits of a fine Tasmanian company in future years.

The fun starts before you even get in the door.  Protestors dressed fetchingly in furry animal outfits will provide street entertainment.  Additional colour will be added by a few drab local media personalities, who have forgotten their invitations. 

Tip:  for a glimpse of the star attraction —  the highly-credentialed Gunns board of directors, stake out the western carpark entrance around 45 minutes before the party is due to begin.

Once inside, the burly, but friendly security guards will check your invitation, and may even ask for proof of identity.  Once past the Berlin gates, you will make your way down the main corridor, which the designers have cleverly fashioned in the ‘1980’s drab’ school of architecture.

Once in the main ballroom, choose a plastic seat, and wait for the fun to begin. 

Another tip:  formal attire is preferred, but remember that the ballroom isn’t air-conditioned.

At around 10.30, the MC for the morning, none other than executive chairman John Gay will make an appearance.

The witty and erudite Mr Gay will open proceedings by asking revellers to endorse his recent pay rise, and elect him for another term as director.  Such a funny man — who else would think of a gag like that.

Once the laughter has died down, Mr Gay will attempt to wind up proceedings, and retire to the even more exclusive luncheon in another building.

Don’t let him; Mr Gay enjoys coming back for an encore, and he likes nothing more than answering questions from the floor.

Here are a few curly ones to help break the ice:

Mr Gay, do you recognise the conflict of interest created by being both Executive Chairman, and Gunn’s largest personal shareholder?

Mr Gay, do you accept that Gunns’ corporate governance practices contravene ASX guidelines, and are widely accepted as being the worst in Australia?

Mr Gay, the ASX’s continuous disclosure rules require you to notify the exchange when you become aware that profit will vary significantly.  When did you become aware that the 2005/06 profit was going to fall well short of previous guidance, and why didn’t you notify the stock exchange as required by law?

These are just a couple of suggestions, and I’m sure there are many others that will make this party one to remember.

Anyway, I’ll see you all there.

Jarvis

WHERE:  Gunns ballroom, 78 Lindsay Street Launceston
WHEN:    9 November 2006, 10.30 am
COST:    $500, plus brokerage
DRESS:    Black tie

Jarvis Cocker

Time is running out to secure your ticket to what is guaranteed to be the hottest event on Northern Tasmania’s social calendar, the Gunns Limited Annual General Meeting.